La Reserva Federal y la guerra de divisas

NUEVA YORK – La reciente decisión de la Reserva Federal de lanzar una tercera ronda de su programa de compra de activos, fue recibido por el Ministro de Hacienda de Brasil, Guido Mantega, con nuevas acusaciones de que Estados Unidos está alimentando una “guerra de divisas”. En las economías emergentes, que están luchando con el impacto sobre la competitividad de la apreciación de sus monedas, la alarma es mayor porque estas medidas se suman a las anunciadas en semanas recientes por el Banco Central Europeo y el Banco del Japón.

Mi sensación es que ambos tienen la razón. La Reserva Federal tomó la decisión correcta al adoptar medidas adicionales de expansión monetaria, dada la debilidad de la recuperación de los Estados Unidos. Más aún, fue notable la decisión de atar dichas medidas a mejoras en el mercado de trabajo, una regla que deberían imitar otros bancos centrales del mundo, en particular el Europeo.

Por supuesto que las medidas de expansión monetaria deberían estar acompañadas de políticas fiscales menos restrictivas en los países desarrollados. Pero el margen fiscal con que cuentan estas economías es mucho más limitado que en 2007-2008 y las profundas divisiones políticas impiden cualquier acción fiscal expansionista en los Estados Unidos. Aunque la efectividad de la nueva ronda de compra de activos será limitada, como lo argumenta correctamente el Ministro Mantega, la Reserva Federal tenía que actuar.

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